medicinal herbs

Using Herbs for Fertility Q & A

Q- How do whole herbs address fertility differently than drugs? A- Whole herbs address a variety of fertility problems: hormone imbalance; toxin overload; stress; reproductive obstructions and scarring. They are much different than drug approaches in that they are gentle, generally free of side effects and do not carry serious risks like reproductive cancers like IVF fertility drugs. They do work more slowly than fertility drugs but their body balancing effect can be felt over time and they can produce tangible fertility benefits. A general rule of thumb is to expect one month of healing for every year you’ve  had the problem.

While we must recognize and respect the power of herbal medicines, herbs are really foods with medicinal qualities. As medicine, whole herbs are essentially body balancers that work with the body functions, so that the body can heal and regulate itself.

 

-Sarah Abernathy

Herbal Consultant

All about plant hormones

blog-phytohormones.jpg

Plant or phyto-hormones are remarkably similar to human hormones. They can be accepted by hormone receptor sites in our bodies, and, at  only ¹⁄₄₀₀ to ¹⁄₁₀₀₀  the strength of human hormones, they are extremely gentle and safe, exerting a tonic effect rather than drug-like activity. Although used for centuries by both men and women, we are just beginning to understand their power. Studies on soy foods and herbs like ginseng, black cohosh and wild yam clearly show hormone-normalizing effects.Many Women Find That Herbs Are A Better Choice For Hormone Balance

Many of the phytoestrogen containing herbs, like black cohosh for instance, are not just natural (instead of chemical) estrogen balancers. As living medicines, they can work intelligently with your body. In many cases, these herbs don’t compete for receptor sites or have a direct estrogenic activity in the body. In fact, they work mainly as adaptogens which balance glandular activity and normalize body temperature fluctuations. They do what herbs always do best no matter what the problem is—they are body normalizers.

For hot flashes and night sweats: • Crystal Star Est-Aid capsules, 4 to 6 daily; •wild yam cream or Pro-Est balance roll on; • Vitex extract; vitamin E 800IU; • Evening Primrose Oil caps 3000mg daily.

For side effects from synthetic hormones or birth control pills: • Vitamin E 800IU; • B-12, 2500mg and folic acid 800mcg daily; •Ester C 550mg with bioflavonoids, 6 daily; •Maca caps.

To rebalance prostaglandin formation: (Prostaglandin imbalance can lead to breast and uterine fibroids, menstrual difficulties, and a tendency to gain weight.) Avoid saturated fats, especially from red meats and pasteurized, fatty dairy foods. Take • high omega-3 oils from cold water fish or flax seed oil 3x daily. Or use • Evening Primrose 3000mg daily.

To Life-long health,

Linda Page, Ph.D., Traditional Naturopath

About Linda Page, Ph.D., Traditional Naturopath

blog-linda_author.jpg

Dr. Page's career as a leader in natural health and healing spans over three decades. She is a prolific author and educator. Her best-selling book, Healthy Healing, is used as a textbook at many higher educational institutions teaching natural health courses. She has also written other books including: Diets for Healthy Healing, Healthy Healing’s Detoxification and a popular series of library books which address specific healing therapies for topics like menopause, weight loss, sexuality, colds and flu and cancer. A master classical herbalist, she founded the herbal nutrition company Crystal Star in 1978 and she has formulated over 250 whole herb combinations. She received some of the first United States patents for herbal formulations for her women’s hormone-balancing formulas.

Linda is in demand by the media and she has appeared weekly on CBS television with a report on natural healing; she is a principle speaker at national health symposiums and conventions; she is featured regularly in national magazines and newspapers; she appears on hundreds of radio and television programs and she regularly contributes to WebMD and other health websites. She is considered the herbal authority on anti-aging, women’s health and beauty.

Today, Linda delights in having come full circle. “I am so grateful that knowledge of healing through herbal formulas and good foods is becoming so widespread. I see it as an opportunity for people to seize the power to heal themselves. Knowledge is power. Whether one chooses conventional medicine, alternative healing avenues, or combines them both in a complementary process, the real prescription for healing is knowledge.”

Seaweed detox baths are Nature’s perfect body/psyche balancer

Remember how good you feel after an ocean walk? Seaweeds purify and balance the ocean—they can do the same for your body. A hot seaweed detox bath is like a wet-steam sauna, only better, because the seaweeds balance body chemistry instead of dehydrating it. The electromagnetic action of the seaweed releases excess body fluids from congested cells, and dissolves fatty wastes through the skin, replacing them with minerals, especially potassium and iodine. Iodine boosts thyroid activity, so food fuels are used before they can turn into fat deposits. Vitamin K in seaweeds boosts adrenal activity, meaning that a seaweed bath can help maintain hormone balance for a more youthful body. Taking a seaweed detox bath once a week stimulates lymphatic drainage and fat burning so you can keep off excess weight, reduce cellulite and rid your body of toxins.

There are two very effective ways to take a seaweed detox bath: 1. Draw very hot water in a tub to 1/2 full. Put the seaweed into the tub and steep until it softens and the water is cool enough to enter. 2. Make a strong infusion in a large pot on the stove, simmering the seaweed for 10 – 15 minutes before straining and adding to hot bathwater.

Soak in the deep bath, covering the body as much as possible for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let hot water constantly trickle into the tub to maintain the high temperature. Soak as long as possible to give the body time to absorb the mineral properties. (Rub the body with the seaweed solids during the bath for best results.) If you become overheated or uncomfortable, sit on the edge of the tub for 1 – 2 minutes.

A seaweed detox bath balance the acid-alkaline system, encourages liver activity, cellulite release and fat metabolism. Skin tone, color, and better circulation are almost immediately noticeable. To get the most from a seaweed treatment, dry brush cellulitic skin before your seaweed bath to exfoliate dead skin, and open up pores for waste elimination and blood flow to the affected area.

Note: For your convenience, Crystal Star offers prepackaged, organic seaweeds in a Hot Seaweed Bath.

To Life-long health,

Linda Page

Herbal Therapy for Irritable Bowel

Healing Irritable Bowel Syndrome Over 70 million Americans suffer from some form of digestive disorder. Irritable Bowel Syndrome affects as many as one in five U.S. adults! 80% are women, leading researchers to suspect that hormone changes during the menstrual cycle are involved. IBS is a chronically inflamed, painful colon, often a result of food allergies (65%), usually a gluten reaction to wheat, or cheese, corn or eggs. Lactose intolerance symptoms mimic those of IBS and colitis. Most victims are women between 20 and 40 with stressful jobs or lifestyles. Colon membranes become irritated and inflamed, and the body forms pouchy pockets in reaction. In severe cases, ulcerous lesions line the sides of the colon (ulcerative colitis).

  1. 1. During the acute stage of an attack: Go on a mono diet for 2 days with apples and apple juice. (A short vegetable juice-brown rice cleanse helps people who are sensitive to sorbitol in apples.)

  2. Then, eat a low fat diet with easy to digest grains, like white rice to start. Lightly cook foods, never fry, add few salts.

  3. Include fresh fruits, fruit fiber from prunes, apples and raisins (not if fructose intolerant like many people with IBS), green salads with olive oil and lemon dressing, whole grain cereals like oatmeal or brown rice (not wheat), and steamed veggies.

  4. Have a glass of mixed vegetable juice daily for the first two weeks-fresh carrot juice 3 times a week. • Wheat Grass juice, shows good results for ulcerative colitis. Keep your body hydrated - 6 to 8 glasses of water a day, or try • Aloe Vera Juice.

  5. Eat cultured foods, like yogurt and kefir for friendly intestinal flora.

  6. Eat small, frequent meals. No large meals. Eat fruits alone, on an empty stomach.

  7. Clean up your diet: Avoid coffee and caffeine foods, sodas, nuts, seeds, soy foods and citrus while healing. Cut back on saturated fat (high quality coconut oil is OK). Eliminate sugary foods, fried foods, sorbitol, and dairy. (Lactose intolerance affects 30% of people with IBS. Statistics show symptoms resolve for up to 40% of those who eliminate dairy completely from their diets.) Eliminate wheat foods (another major irritant) of all kinds. Highly spiced foods, many meal replacements and energy drinks are an irritant. MSG and food additives move bowel muscles resulting in diarrhea and cramps.

Herbs for Irritable Bowel from Healthy Healing 14th Edition

• Take cat’s claw (una da gato) extract, 3 capsules or 3 droppers daily (results in 5 days) • Peppermint oil - 2 capsules 3x daily, or 5 drops in tea. Or • Crystal Star Green Tea Cleanser 2 cups daily with 5 peppermint oil drops 2x daily. or • Crystal Star Bwl-Tone for gentle cleansing support.

To Life-long health,

Linda Page

Liver Flushing--Your Liver is a Key for Detoxification

Your life depends on your liver. To a large extent, the health of your liver determines the health of your entire body. The liver is really a wonderful chemical plant that converts everything we eat, breathe and absorb through the skin into life-sustaining substances. The liver is a major blood reservoir, forming and storing red blood cells, and filtering toxins at a rate of a quart of blood per minute. It manufactures natural antihistamines to keep immune response high. More than any other organ, the liver enables us to benefit from the food we eat. Without the liver, digestion would be impossible,the conversion of food into living energy nonexistent. The liver is the primary metabolic organ for proteins, fats and carbohydrates. It synthesizes and secretes bile, the substance that insures good food assimilation, and is critical to excreting toxic material from the gastrointestinal tract.  Blood flows directly from the intestinal tract to the liver, where it deals with food toxins before they are delivered into our blood. Blood keeps returning to the liver, processing toxins again and again through the lymph system until they are excreted by the bile or kidneys.

Liver congestion and exhaustion interfere with these vital functions. Unfortunately, since the common American diet is high in calories, fats, sugars and alcohol, with unknown amounts of toxins from preservatives, pesticides and nitrates, almost everybody has liver malfunction to some extent. Health problems occur after many years of abuse, when the liver is so exhausted it loses the ability to detoxify itself. Still, your liver has amazing rejuvenative powers, continuing to function when as many as 80% of its cells are damaged. More remarkable, the liver can regenerate its own damaged tissue, so that even in life-threatening situations, like cirrhosis, hepatitis, acute gallstone attacks, mononucleosis or pernicious anemia, the liver can regenerate, and major surgery or even death averted. You can help your liver take a “deep cleansing breath”… something I’ve found you can almost feel as its amazing powers of recovery begin to flow.

A liver flushing detox is the first vital step for the body to begin to heal itself.

What Causes Endometriosis And Fibroids?

While scientists are still not entirely certain why endometriosis and fibroids develop, here are risk factors to be aware of: Excess Levels of Estrogen / Deficient Progesterone: Excess estrogen fuels abnormal tissue growth and is a direct cause of both fibroids and endometriosis for many women. When estrogen production declines during menopause, fibroids normally go away on their own. However, quite understandably, this isn't nearly soon enough for women who are suffering from the problem.

X-Ray Consequences: Even low dose radiation may mean increased risk for fibroids. Breast tissue is so sensitive that the time between a mammogram and fibroid growth is sometimes as little as three months.

Too Much Caffeine and Commercial Meat: Drinking 4-5 cups of coffee daily increases estrogen, triggering fibroid growth. Research from a 2001 study reported in the journal Fertility and Sterility shows women who consume 500 milligrams of caffeine daily, the equivalent of 4-5 cups of coffee, produce 70% more estrogen in the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle than women who consume less than 1 cup of coffee. If you like beef, you should know that Italian research reported in Obsetrics and Gynecology shows while eating red meat doubles the risk of developing uterine fibroids, eating plenty of vegetables cuts fibroid risk in half! Experience with the problem has me convinced that eliminating caffeine and hormone-injected meats can dramatically reduce fibroid problems for many women.

Oral Contraceptives: Feedback I've had from birth control users suggests that even the newest low dose oral contraceptives can cause breast swelling, and aggravate fibroid problems and endometriosis for susceptible women.

Natural Therapies To Balance Hormones for Fibroids & Endometriosis Relief

A low fat, vegetarian diet. What you eat can make a big difference. Breast swelling and painful uterine cramping can be significantly improved within weeks after a change to a low fat, vegetarian diet.

Reduce caffeine. Caffeine from coffee, chocolate and colas can aggravate fibroids. Women with a predisposition to fibroids have a hard time metabolizing caffeine in these forms. Some women report they can consume green or white tea without ill effect.

Rethink high fat dairy foods like cheese, milk, and ice cream. Naturopaths and practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine routinely suggest eliminating fatty dairy foods from the daily diet to reduce toxic accumulations like fibroids, fatty tumors, cysts and boils. This diet change by itself can produce amazing fibroid relief. Cultured low fat dairy products like yogurt and kefir, are generally well tolerated.

A short cleanse can really help. A 24 hour vegetable juice diet helps clean out acid wastes and reduce body congestion. Consider the 24 hour cleanse in Linda Page's bestselling book, Healthy Healing 12th Edition: A Guide to Self-Healing For Everyone.

Foods that are high in essential fatty acids (EFAs) are a healthy choice. EFAs are liquid fats that help to metabolize hard, clogging saturated fats that contribute to fibroid growths. EFAs also help maintain hormone balance and reduce inflammation- important for fibroid relief. Sea greens like dulse and nori (also a good source of iodine- a proven fibroid fighter), seafoods, dark greens like spinach, cantaloupe, olive oil and avocado are healthy sources of EFAs.

Add cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and brussels sprouts. Cruciferous veggies are one of my favorite healing foods. Indole 3 carbinole is the constituent responsible for their bitter flavor. It's a natural antioxidant with powerful anti-tumor activity. Indole 3 carbinole improves estrogen metabolism and the body's ability to eliminate excess estrogen. New tests show that women who eat plenty of vegetables containing indole-3-carbinole may lower their risk of breast cancer. Indole 3 carbinole vegetables may also reduce fibroid symptoms by improving estrogen metabolism.

More fiber in your diet is a natural estrogen balancer. Studies have shown that women on a high-fiber diet have lower levels of circulating estrogen. More fiber in your diet means less circulating estrogen and reduced body congestion because excess estrogen is excreted through the bowel. Having an apple or pear every day keeps your system free flowing.

Finally, maintaining a healthy weight is another key to reduce fibroids and prevent their recurrence. Fat is a storage depot for hormones and wastes that fuel fibroid growth.

To Life-long Health,

Linda Page

Do you have Fibroids or Endometriosis

Fibroids and endometriosis are two of the biggest health complaints I hear about from women. There is hardly a week that goes by that I don't get an office call or a letter from a woman who is trying to avoid fibroid surgery or who is looking for relief. I decided to write this article in response to all of these wonderful women. It offers suggestions for safe and gentle natural therapies, like diet and whole herbs, that you may want to explore with your holistic physician or natural health practitioner. At Crystal Star, we always suggest you consult with health professional before starting a self-help program. The incidence of fibroids and endometriosis has reached epidemic proportions in the U.S. More than a half million American women have hysterectomies every year because of complications caused by fibroids and endometriosis. As much as 40% of American women 35 and older have fibroids. Some data suggest uterine fibroids are more common than blue eyes.

Having a hysterectomy is major surgery, sometimes requiring a month or more of recovery time. A 2000 study in the journal Lancet shows women who have undergone hysterectomies have a 60% greater risk for urinary incontinence later in life. In addition, a hysterectomy induces a premature, unnatural menopause with all of its attendant problems- hot flashes, bone loss, weight gain, and mood swings. Most women tell me they would rather deal with the fibroids! The medical community's answer to this is usually a prescription of hormone replacement drugs that we now know are linked to breast cancer, gallbladder disease and blood clots.

The majority of these problems could have been avoided. The latest research shows that only 10% of hysterectomies are medically necessary.

What are Fibroids?

Uterine fibroids are benign growths between the size of a walnut and orange that appear on or within uterine walls. Their symptoms can be mild to severe with excessive menstrual bleeding, abdominal pain, bladder infections, painful intercourse and infertility topping the list. Further, most fibroids are not cancerous, and, according to some estimates, have less than 1/2 of 1% chance of becoming cancerous before menopause. In fact, research suggests most fibroids go away on their own after menopause.

Breast fibroids are also highly common. Breast fibroids feel like moveable, rubbery nodules near the surface of the breast. Women complain they cause swelling and that getting a hug is too painful. In a small number of cases, breast fibroids can be fast-growing and may require medical treatment. Even then, you should know that a recent study in National Cancer institute shows radiologists report false positives 16% of the time. Click here for more Breast Fibroids information.

How is Endometriosis Different? Endometriosis is caused by excess growth of endometrial tissue that is not shed during menstruation. The tissue escapes the uterus and spreads, attaching to other areas of the body- ovaries, lymph nodes, fallopian tubes, bladder, rectum, even kidneys and lungs. It grows abnormally, bleeding severely during the menstrual cycle, from the vagina or rectum, or bladder or back through the fallopian tubes, instead of normally through the vagina.

Endometriosis can mean heavy periods and pain all month long, and it increases risk for benign uterine and breast fibroids. It's credited with up to 50% of infertility cases in American women.

In many cases, natural therapies can help a woman's body normalize naturally. Further, symptoms of fibroids and endometriosis can be reduced by making simple diet changes and following specific herb and supplement protocols.

Do You Have Warning Signs Of Fibroids Or Endometriosis?

A visit to your holistic physician will give you a definitive diagnosis, but two or more yes answers to the symptoms below should alert you of a potential problem.

  • Severe abdominal cramping and shooting pain; and abdominal-rectal pain
  • Excessive, painful menstruation; passing large clots; prolonged abnormal menstrual cycles
  • Chronic fluid retention, abdominal bloating
  • Irregular bowel movements or diarrhea during menses
  • Urinary frequency
  • Sensation of fullness or pressure in the abdomen

To Life-long health,

Linda Page